THE pre-entry excitement is rising as Nelson Mandela Bay gets ready for the 94th running of the historic River Mile that will take place on Sunday, February 18, at the picturesque Cannonville Village along the banks of the Sundayâ€™s River.
The inaugural race was first held in the river at Redhouse on January 20, 1924 and was declared by all to be a huge success. Perhaps the greatest feature of the race was the fact that 48 men started out and 44 completed the distance.
As it is today, the race is a â€œtwo-in-oneâ€? race, for the first one to finish becomes the River Champion, while the first five from any one club become the champion team.
Nelson Mandela Bay is honoured to host one of the worldâ€™s oldest swimming events.
In recent years, the River Mile has enjoyed considerable popularity and has been extended to include other events, such as a 5km family fun run, off-road triathlons, a swim across the river for kids under the age of 12, a mile for disabled swimmers and a mile for those wearing wetsuits.
Since relocating to Sundayâ€™s River in 2010, the event has attracted well over 1 000 participants.
The 94th running of the River Mile will see all events and festivities taking place on the same day and is expected to draw huge crowds, especially at the action-packed festival. The Smile Foundation is the charity highlighted by the event under the banner â€˜Swim a Mile for a Smileâ€™.
Entry to the festival is R20 and gates will open at 7am.
The first event, the 5km Family Fun Run, will start at 8am, followed by the About IT Off-Road Triathlons at 9am. Two distances are available for the triathlon, namely the short course (a 250m tide assisted swim) and a 20km MTB cycle and 5km run with a minimum age requirement of 16 (as at December 31, 2018).
The long course triathlon is a 500m swim, 42km MTB cycle and a 10km run and the minimum age requirement is 20. The About IT triathlons are open to both individuals and teams.
The swimming races will get underway at 11am with the increasingly popular â€˜Across the River Racesâ€™ for children 12 years and under who are not taking part in the Mile events.
This year the races will be run separately for the childrenâ€™s age groups, as well as the special needs childrenâ€™s race. The prize-giving for the childrenâ€™s races will take place at 12:15pm.
The disabled swimmers and swimmers in the Blu_Smooth Wetsuit Mile race will get underway at 12:30pm, followed by the Ladiesâ€™ Mile at 1:30pm and the Menâ€™s Mile at 2:30pm.
The prize-giving for the triathlon events and all the mile races will take place at 3:30pm.
For more info and online registration, go to www.rivermile.co.za.